NPM: My Kind of Worship

This morning I was down at the riverside park for sunrise. The sky was quiet. There were no dramatic streaks of color, just a serene lightening toward day. The moon lingered, a gorgeous waning orb in the west. Mist drifted above the water, testament to the frosty air. Two eagles soared by, and a flock of geese arrowed across the sky. A few mergansers glided across the still water. The fish were active, rising to the surface to create small splashes and concentric rings. Far off I could hear a woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting. I soaked in the pre-dawn calm.

Soon a car arrived and then another pulled in. After a moment of confusion, I saw a man set up a lectern, and realized there was probably going to be some sort of Easter sunrise service. I didn’t want to get blocked in the parking lot, as I was hoping to catch the red-winged blackbirds singing in a nearby marshy area. If I was lucky and the lighting was right, I might be able to catch their breath in a photo. There’s something so amazing about that to me. At any rate, as a few other service goers arrived, I walked over to my car, feeling grateful and replete.

A man stepped up next to me. “Stay for the services,” he smiled.

“No, thanks,” I responded. “I’ve just been watching the eagles and the sunrise. I’m heading over to the Abbadagasset to see the birds there.”

“You’re missing the Lord,” he replied.


“I have my own way to worship,” I said, getting into my car.

Driving away, I felt a bit taken aback. What should I have said? I’m not a religious person, but hadn’t I just told him I was admiring what he would say are “God’s creations”? Also, wasn’t it presumptuous of him to comment at all on what I was doing. He might think I was “missing the Lord”, but I had to wonder if he was missing the point. Probably it was good that I hadn’t said that.

His words were with me all morning. I wouldn’t say they upset me, but they were there. They were there as I arrived at the next river to watch an osprey soar. As I listened to the red-winged blackbirds call through the marsh. As I heard the far-off lament of migrating geese, and delighted in the antics of two beaver. They were with me as I drove home and en route saw yet another eagle and more mergansers and celebrated the return of the swallows.

They’re still with me as I write this post, hours later.

It was a glorious morning. I was filled with gratitude. In my opinion, I was missing nothing.

I’m sharing a poem I wrote 4 or 5 years ago. It feels like the perfect one for today.

My Kind of Worship

Sunrise service at the river
pink horizon
scattered sunlight

©Molly Hogan

Swagger Challenge: Write a Zeno


Last month we began posing monthly challenges for our writing group, named The Sunday Night Swaggers. The plan is for a different one of us to pose a challenge each month, and for all of us to share our poems at the first Poetry Friday of the month. This month Margaret Simon (Reflections on the Teche) posed our second challenge: Write a Zeno.

A quick intro to Zenos: J. Patrick Lewis created the form. In an interview with Michelle Heidenrich Barnes of Today’s Little Ditty  he explained, ” The zeno was inspired by the “hailstone  sequence” in mathematics. I define a zeno as a 10-line poem with 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1 syllables that rhyme abcdefdghd.” (If you’d like to find out more about the “hailstone sequence”, click here. It’s actually kind of cool!)

I’ve written Zenos before, and was looking forward to writing some more. But this time around I was stymied. Flummoxed. Confounded. I wrote page after page after page. Lists of rhyming words. False starts. Half starts. I wrote about Halloween vampires, black crows, crimson maple trees, snowy egret carnage, the marsh, mornings, my cat, and more. Yikes! Nothing fell into place. The tyranny of a 1-syllable rhyme has been grossly underrated! 

It’s been one of those weeks…

Some mornings, words fall into line
gather neatly
on the
some days they fight,
twist and kick, then
storm off-

© Molly Hogan, 2019

The Poetry Friday Round-up is hosted by Cheriee at Library Matters. She’s sharing an interview with Canadian poet Robert Heidbreder and some wonderful examples of his poems. If you’re interested in checking out some other Zenos, you can find my fellow Swaggers’ Zenos at their blogs.

Margaret Simon (Reflections on the Teche)
Heidi Mordhorst (My Juicy Universe)
Linda Mitchell (A Word Edgewise)
Catherine Flynn (Reading to the Core)

A Zeno

unnamedLike so many others, thanks to Margaret Simon‘s introduction and wonderful mentor poems, I jumped right on the Zeno train. The form was created by J. Patrick Lewis and consists of 8 lines with a syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1, with the one syllable lines rhyming. I’ve been playing around with it a lot in my notebook lately.

Last weekend as the sun rose, I spotted this lovely tree, brilliant in the midst of the frost-covered cemetery. It seemed a perfect fit for a Zeno. I’m still toying around with endings, but for now I’m going with this version.


O’er frosted tombstones, amber flare
surges upward
final flash of
doused too soon by

M. Hogan ©2018

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by the warmly welcoming Brenda Davis Harsham at her lovely blog, Friendly Fairy Tales. Thanks, Brenda!